PERRY — The Perry baseball team did its part.
The Ramblers went into Wednesday’s game with Vermontville Maple Valley needing a win and some help to clinch a tie for the Greater Lansing Athletic Conference title.
The Ramblers got out to a 4-1 lead early and rolled past Maple Valley, 11-1, in a game shortened to six innings. However, Lake Odessa Lakewood won both games Wednesday at Olivet, 4-3 and 9-1, to claim the league title outright.
That happened after Perry had dispatched Maple Valley with three runs in the sixth to end the game.
“We’ve won 11 of our last 12, so we’re rolling along,” Perry coach Greg Hallock said.
Maple Valley (10-13 overall, 8-10 GLAC) handed Perry the only loss in that string, a 4-3 defeat in extra innings in the first game of Monday night’s doubleheader in Vermontville.
The Lions got off to a fast start Wednesday, getting a run in the first inning on an RBI single by Noah Hansen.
“It took me a while to get loose,” said Perry starter Dylan Hunt, who hit Maple Valley’s Austin Zank with a pitch and watched him score on Hanzen’s single. “After that, everything just worked. They kept chasing the two-seam (fastball), and I kept using what I was getting to work.”
Hanson’s single was the last hit the Lions would get until they got a pair of singles in the sixth.
“Dylan did a really good job,” Hallock said. “He’s around the plate and he has good command. For a junior, he’s pretty composed out there.”
Perry wasted no time getting its offense rolling, batting around in the first inning and getting all the runs they would need on a two-run double by Brandon Shooltz to left-center field, part of a four-run outburst.
“We gave up a run in the first game then we came back with four, and that makes everything easier the rest of the way,” said Perry catcher Hunter Sanderson, who was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
The Ramblers (17-6, 13-5) got four more in the second, helped by three Maple Valley errors.
“We’ve been hitting the ball like crazy,” Sanderson said, “and that’s been carrying us. We’ve also cut down on the errors we were making early in the season, and that’s helped. When I can play my game and know they’re going to make plays, that makes it easier.”
Perry has a doubleheader scheduled at Lansing Sexton today, and Hallock said he’ll try to pick up a single game next week before the June 1 district tournament.
Perry is scheduled to take on Bath at noon in a Division 3 district semifinal in Laingsburg.
“We’re going to give some guys some rest,” he said of today’s twin bill. “We’re going to pitch some guys who haven’t gotten a bunch of innings this year. They’ve been at all the practices, and they deserve to get some mound time, so we’re going to do a bit of that.”
PERRY 11, MAPLE VALLEY 1
Maple Valley 100 000 — 1 3 5
Perry 440 003 — 11 14 0
WP: Dylan Hunt, Perry (6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 7 K, 2 BB).
LP: Gavin Booher, Maple Valley (1 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 K, 2 BB).
Hits: Perry — Nick Porter 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI; Hunter Sanderson 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Brandon Shooltz 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Andrew McConnell 2-4, 2 RBI.
Records Perry 17-6, 13-5 GLAC; Maple Valley 10-13, 8-10.